Many couples use donated eggs, sperm or embryos, and the brilliant news is about 800 babies are born in the UK every year using this approach.
So what’s the difference between egg and embryo donation, what’s involved and could it be for you?
At a glance
- Using an egg or embryo donor certainly needs careful consideration
- Like any big decision, it’s important to find out as much as you can beforehand
Who uses egg or embryo donation?
This approach could help if you have experienced any of these situations:
- A premature menopause
- Problems releasing eggs from your ovaries
- Born with no ovaries (eg. Turner syndrome)
- Have had radio or chemotherapy which damaged your ovaries
- Your partner isn’t producing sperm
What is egg donation?
If you try getting pregnant using an egg donor, you will usually undergo IVF treatment . This involves removing eggs from a donor’s ovary, fertilising them with sperm in a laboratory and implanting them back into your uterus, or womb, where they will hopefully develop and grow. This means the donated egg could be fertilised by your partner’s sperm.
This involves using an egg that has already been fertilised, turning it into an embryo. A common source is couples who have been through IVF and have healthy, un-frozen embryos left over. Often couples like this had a successful outcome and want other couples to benefit too. The embryo would be implanted into your womb where it hopefully grows and develops.
Is egg or embryo donation right for me?
Using an egg or embryo donor certainly needs careful consideration – it’s a hugely complex issue with all sorts of emotional and practical implications. But after weighing it all up, you may well find the benefits far outweigh your concerns. Like any big decision, it’s important to find out as much as you can beforehand. The good news is, you will also get plenty of counselling and support if you decide to go ahead.